Influence of storm surge on tidal range energy

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The regular and predictable nature of the tide makes the generation of electricity with a tidal lagoon or barrage an attractive form of renewable energy, yet storm surges affect the total water-level. Here we present the first assessment of the potential impact of storm surges on tidal-range power. Water-level data (2000–2012) at nine UK tide gauges, where tidal-range energy is suitable for development (e.g. Bristol Channel), was used to predict power. Storm surge affected annual resource estimates −5% to +3%, due to inter-annual variability, which is lower than other sources of uncertainty (e.g. lagoon design); therefore, annual resource estimation from astronomical tides alone appears sufficient. However, instantaneous power output was often significantly affected (Normalised Root Mean Squared Error: 3%–8%, Scatter Index: 15%–41%) and so a storm surge prediction system may be required for any future electricity generation scenario that includes large amounts of tidal-range generation. The storm surge influence to tidal-range power varied with the electricity generation strategy considered (flooding tide only, ebb-only or dual; both flood and ebb), but with some spatial and temporal variability. The flood-only strategy was most affected by storm surge, mostly likely because tide-surge interaction increases the chance of higher water-levels on the flooding tide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-36
Early online date13 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

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